By Mike Smith, Director of Large Enterprise and Public Sector, Virgin Media O2 Business
The pandemic accelerated digital progress across businesses by three years, according to our study with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).
Organisational IT spending – from cloud solutions to collaboration technology suitable for hybrid working – increased by 18%.
In many areas, this has improved productivity and internal processes, led to greater customer and employee satisfaction, and helped financial service organisations survive, stabilise and rebound from Covid-19.
Now banking and finance leaders need to focus on continuing momentum.
With businesses facing numerous challenges, ranging from inflation to employee retention, they should consider modifying their approach towards technological change and management.
There are opportunities in thinking innovatively about the role of digital transformation and demanding more from technological partners so that this vision becomes a reality.
Thinking innovatively about digital transformation
Creative thinking about digital transformation is so important because it can address fundamental business challenges, such as sustainability and Covid-driven behavioural change.
64% of decision makers surveyed by McKinsey in 2021 recognised that their companies need to build new digital businesses to stay economically viable by 2023.
Promisingly, many organisations are already acting on this.
In the financial services sector, JP Morgan recently launched a new mobile app, Chase UK, which is designed to tap into increasing consumer appetite for seamless digital journeys since Covid-19. This aims to offer a personalised, data-driven service, replicating the success of other online banks such as Monzo and Revolut.
And Bank of America has stepped up its investment in robotics to help protect the bank and better serve its customers.
It has deployed 22 robots across its front, middle and back offices designed to help attend to customer enquiries faster and bring new products to market more quickly and effectively. This has resulted in considerable cost savings and improved consistency and accuracy in automation processes.
Outside of financial services, British Sugar is also demonstrating bold ambition when it comes to digitally transforming its operations.
It has announced a seven-year connectivity partnership, switching on its own private mobile network, designed to prepare its factories for 5G-connected manufacturing, revolutionise production processes with IoT, and use AI to monitor operations live and predict maintenance needs. This will help reduce disruption and deliver cost and energy savings.
For businesses in all sectors, this innovative thinking is having two effects. It is helping staff to do their jobs more quickly and effectively. And it is helping with customer retention and acquisition.
For this kind of creative thinking to flourish, organisations need the right technological partners.
Demanding more from technological partners
While thinking innovatively is important, digital transformation can be a huge undertaking.
Financial service organisations need the right partner to support them through this process because this is about more than selling technology. This is about achieving success.
The term “partner” is used a lot by service providers. But few are truly living up to the name. Only 31% of senior IT managers feel that their technological partner regularly offers strategic consultancy on business issues, according to our recent research with Censuswide.
Partnership is about being invested in the end goal success, sharing risk as well as reward, and going beyond what is expected. When goals aren’t being met, a true partner should roll up its sleeves and work alongside a business to get it back on track.
In a fast-moving, ever-changing landscape, we need to go beyond traditional Service Level Agreements (SLAs)., based solely on generic product/service performance measures.
Businesses should expect more.
Digital change can only be a success when it’s helping companies to achieve their unique ambitions.
That’s why it’s important that organisations and partners agree on a set of bespoke goals which align with the overarching business strategy at the outset. We want to judge progress based on the supplier’s experience and not just service provision.
Grasping the opportunity
Our study with the Centre for Economics and Business Research revealed that continued digital investment could boost the national economy by £236bn by 2040.
To grasp this opportunity, banking and finance leaders need to continue to demonstrate innovative thinking and ambition when it comes to digital transformation.
That means expecting more from technological partners so that they can turn bold visions into reality.